Tanya’s experimental way of using artisanal craftsmanship and multimedia technology over perfect designs will make you rethink fashion.
The fantastically erudite Tanya Steven is a hard woman to catch, but definitely one to watch. They say you can’t have it all. But Tanya has proven them wrong — she is not just a ravishing face, she means business.
It’s easy to make assumptions about the privilege she had, but the Kuala Lumpur born, London based fashion entrepreneur is learning to ride the ebbs and flows on her own. “I’m very (very) involved in a sense that I set the tone, the direction, the strategy and others that go into it.” Truth is, she wears many hats. But she continues to thrive, of which demonstrates a preternatural level of self-discipline and strength. “I’ve always wanted to do something which allows me to express creativity and to work with people. This is like a dream come true, almost,” says the ready-to-wear designer. She especially loves receiving feedbacks and reactions when showing a certain point of view.
AHNDE came alive after a long conversation with a dear friend in New York, of which she was busy making mental notes. That simultaneously resulted in the first AHNDE show in the Institute of Contemporary Arts. “I chose that space because it’s traditionally a place where the real sort of great thinkers and artists met in the 60s and 70s.”
Judging from the first glance and last impression, the ready-to-wear designer is arguably the best incarnation of her brand despite she has been staying below the radar and let her creations speak for themselves. Like Tanya, AHNDE is confident and secure in her own intellect. The label is more about dressing up beautifully and confidently and less about keeping up to the trend. It’s amazing how it’s almost like a continual voyage of self-discovery.
In many ways Tanya represents for the girls as a dreamer. But she isn’t a lone dreamer, she is fearless in her approach to making those dreams a reality. At AHNDE, she eagerly awaits a future that is close enough to be exciting.
Founder and creative director of AHNDE
Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tanya began her early education at Heathfield, Ascot, Berkshire—a school famous for nourishing extraordinary and influential British talents such as Isabella Blow, Tamara Mellon, Sienna Miller and Daphne Guinness.
After attending London’s Central Saint Martins, Tanya completed her Master’s Degree in Biochemical Engineering. Evident from her debut collection, the young Creative Director has a talent in combining art with technology.
AHNDE is completely unique in a way that it’s spelled.
“Fashion to me is not necessarily just about the product, the product is just the end thing, but the process, the process of getting to that product — it’s music (hearing), colour, original pattern (sight & touch), smell and so much more than that. I think each experience stimulates the senses in many ways and if you’re able to do all five senses — that’s fantastic!”
“For the moment, integrity, quality and fairness in price are very important. I like to see the condition of the studio that I’m working with and just want to make sure that whoever the embroiderers are — they are treated with respect and they have a fair wage. That’s very important because you see it in the end products. You really do see it. If people are treated well with respect and with integrity, it translates.”
“I love nostalgic (the thirties!) but at the same time we live in the present so it’s very important to consider our elements in creating different things in the modern day, for the modern women.”
“I believe in high quality clothing. Thus it remained a small collection. I don’t believe in pushing out product for the sake of pushing out product. It’s meaningless, so every single piece that came out has really been thought through.”
“I think creativity is meant to open one’s eyes, to challenge, to make people wonder. The key thing is that people would be able to think autonomously, to question things, to not take everything as right and to feel something.”
I like places with energy, whether it’s a city or island.
Place to go: Galicia, Spain.
“You get inspired by the colours, the scent, the people — it’s very charming! The locals really celebrate life. They wake up really late, maybe it’s because they go to sleep at about seven… I think it’s important to work hard and play hard too.”
The good life is… ultimately love, creativity, friends and family. If you have those four in abundance, you’re the king of the world! That’s richness beyond measure. The ability to use your mind to create, to express, to have people who cared about you, and the people whom you can love as much as they love you.